Once again, developers are proposing to solve our transportation problems by building more houses. Once again the target area is the Rural Crescent, where the Avendale development would increase residential densities from 12 to 295 homes if approved by Supervisors.
Let’s do a recap of the recent financial bloodletting in the real estate market for Prince William County. With thousands of homes still in foreclosure and more than 30 THOUSAND approved new homes still unbuilt, it’s fair to say that a lack of housing is NOT an issue for Prince William County.
Adding insult to injury, these unneeded new homes are proposed for the County’s “protected” rural area. Why is the Rural Crescent the most valuable land use tool this County can claim? Because it establishes a rural area with lower population densities, reducing the need to invest precious limited tax dollars for infrastructure.
Every citizen benefits, from west to east, by NOT having to invest tax dollars to build new roads, new schools, new hospitals, etc. in areas far from the County’s population centers. Instead, the County should invest our resources in areas where we get the biggest bang for our buck – the development area.
However, Developers have asked the Board for special consideration to build MORE homes in areas that don’t make sense. Considering the County’s current housing glut as well as the economic climate (both the County and the state are broke), you have to ask yourself, WHY would Supervisors approve this proposal.
This logic would be the same as going on a diet by eating MORE fattening food. Ah, if only, that could be true (audible sigh) However, living in reality, I realize that eating MORE food will not help me lose weight… just as I understand that building more homes and dismantling an effective land use tool, the Rural Crescent, will NOT solve the County’s infrastructure deficit or financial woes. In fact, such development would have the opposite effect in the short AND long term.
Chairman Stewart and Supervisors May, Principi, and Stirrup understood these concepts when they all signed the Rural Crescent Pledge during the last election cycle. Now, two years later, citizens are depending on them to follow through and honor their campaign promises.
When Supervisors vote on the Avendale proposal on January 12th I am hopeful they will vote to support effective long-range planning and limit future, unnecessary costs to taxpayers by voting to deny Avendale.
Update: Here’s the much requested Fiscal Impact Analysis on the Proposed Avendale Development by Bob Pugh.
Pugh’s Bio –
Bob Pugh, CFA was a Senior Financial Analyst for the Prince William County Government from 1999 to 2003. During that time he worked extensively on fiscal and economic impact analysis, including serving as the County’s liaison with Dr. Steven Fuller of George Mason University on development of a fiscal impact model for the County. His work included analysis of regional economic issues pertaining to Prince William County, analysis of tax burdens, revenue forecasting, proffer calculations and proffer calculation methodology, and projected returns on economic development projects.
Bob has many years of experience as an academic in economics, finance and investments, most recently teaching as member of the Practitioner Faculty in Finance for the Johns Hopkins University’s Carey School of Business. He volunteers in many roles in the Prince William County community.
Currently, he owns and manages a financial planning and wealth management firm based in Gainesville, Virginia. He is a past-President of the 1,700-member CFA Society of Washington, DC and serves currently as the CFA Institute’s Eastern Region Presidents Council Representative, representing investment professionals in CFA Societies from Maine through Virginia. Bob is a long-time member of both the CFA Institute and the National Association for Business Economics.